ALA Midwinter 2020

ALA Stop: Free exhibitions at the Free Library

I’m excited that ALA is in Philadelphia this year, because I promise you’ll be spoiled for choice at all of the activities that the City has to offer.  Museums and restaurants are the heart of Philadelphia, but for a truly unforgettable experience, I hope you’ll stop by the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library and tour our Special Collection spaces.

The third floor of the library houses the Rare Book Department and the Theatre Collection, which feature a selection of rotating objects on display.  This floor is also home the Dietrich Gallery, which is currently showing Our 5 Senses.  The exhibition, inspired by Aliki’s classic book My Five Senses, pulls heavily from the Library’s Children’s Literature Research Collection and features original artwork, manuscripts, and ephemera from all of the library’s special collections, including leading children’s authors and illustrators.  Original pieces by classic illustrators such as Ezra Jack Keats, Maurice Sendak, and Robert Lawson share space with modern illustrators like Angela Dominguez, Molly Idle, and the Dillons.  The show was designed to be an interactive family-friendly experience, and I hope you find it as exciting as we do.  Geisel Award-winning illustrator Greg Pizzoli designed characters to guide visitors through each of the senses, and his work is always worth seeing.

Make sure to stop by the second floor of the library and see some of the displays that the subject departments have created.  Also be sure to visit the hallway leading to the Print and Picture Collection to see Tip of the Iceberg: An Exhibition of Wintry Items.  The show features some impressive objects from our Print and Picture Collection and Map Collection, as well as a few pieces from the Children’s Literature Research Collection.  Notable items include original ceramic art by illustrator Isabel Roxas and an original illustration from Maguerite de Angeli’s Bright April.  The illustration is one of my favorite pieces in the collection and I’m happy it will be on display while you’re in town.

I won’t be around the library much because of committee work, but (selfishly) I hope you’ll stop by the Notable Children’s Book Committee discussions and say hello.  The committee is worth visiting each conference because you have the opportunity to observe a professional book discussion in action.

I hope everyone has a memorable conference and a wonderful time in Philadelphia!

Chris Brown, author of "Free exhibitions at the Free Library" postToday’s guest blogger is CHRISTOPHER A. BROWN. Chris is the Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia. He received his MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 and his MA from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2013.  For more information about the Children’s Literature Research Collection, please visit us at

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.